Membership and Participation Policies

Youth Participation Options

Youth may participate in Wisconsin 4-H in the Institute for Positive Youth Development through:

  • Membership in a 4-H club
  • Participation in a special interest/activity/group/program sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension

Enrollment Policies for 4-H Members

The Wisconsin 4-H membership year is October 1 – September 30.

4-H has open enrollment. Youth may enroll at any time of the year. Counties may establish enrollment and reenrollment deadlines for participation in programs when those deadlines are needed to ensure educational integrity and/or safety. This includes participation in county fairs and/or animal projects.

4-H membership is open to all youth beginning in 5K (five-year-old Kindergarten) through one year beyond high school graduation and not to extend beyond the age of 19 as of December 31 of the enrollment year.

Examples

Q: Emma is a high school senior and will turn 20 in April. Can she re-enroll in 4-H next fall?
A: No, she will be 20 years old on December 31 of the enrollment year. Though Emma meets the grade criterion, she does not meet the age criterion for re-enrolling.

Q:Sophia graduates from high school at age 17. She goes on to college and turns 18 on December 31. Can she enroll in 4-H the enrollment year following her graduation from high school?
A. Yes. Sophia is able to join one year following high school. This will be her last year she is eligible to be in 4-H. She will not be able to enroll next year when she is 19. She will not meet the grade criterion.

Q: Noah graduated from high school this year. His 20th birthday is January 15. Can he enroll in 4-H in the fall following his high school graduation?
A: Yes. Noah meets both the age and grade criteria.

Youth must annually sign the WI 4-H Code of Conduct. Consequences for violating any part of this Code of Conduct may include, but are not limited to:

Removal from participation in the event in which the Code of Conduct has been violated (at the individual’s expense)

  • Suspension of membership
  • Sanctions on participation in future 4-H events
  • Forfeiture or repayment of financial support for the event
  • Loss of status as a “member” in good standing.

A “member in good standing” is a youth who abides by the Code of Conduct and meets group or educational project participation requirements and deadlines.

Cloverbud Project

Youth in 5K – 2nd grade participate in the Cloverbud project which is designed to meet the developmental needs of this age group. This does not include pre-kindergarten or four-year-old kindergarten youth. Cloverbud project members are not allowed to exhibit animals at public events nor participate in shooting sports activities.

Home Schooling

Children who are home schooled will participate in 4-H in their declared grade. Graduation – Counties are encouraged to recognize full graduation for those who wish to cease 4-H membership upon graduation from high school. High School seniors, and those participating as members in the year following high school graduation, will be eligible to participate through the entire 4-H year.

Regional & State Events

Participation in regional and state 4-H events, competitions and programs will be based upon the 4-H member’s grade.

  • Youth must qualify for participation in regional and state 4-H events, competitions and programs through their county of membership. This statement does not prohibit a county from using an event in another county as the place where their members qualify for a regional or state competition. It does mean that members must be selected as representatives of only their county of membership, regardless of the location of the qualifying experience.
  • Youth must be enrolled in 4-H at the time the event/program occurs.
  • Participation is limited to those members who are in “good standing” with their local 4-H club and county.

National Events

Participation in national 4-H events, competitions and programs will be based upon the age established for the event.

  • Youth must qualify for participation in national 4-H events, competitions or programs through their county of membership. This statement does not prohibit a county from using an event in another county as the place where their members qualify for a regional or state competition. It does mean that members must be selected as representatives of only their county of membership, regardless of the location of the qualifying experience.
  • Youth must be enrolled in 4-H at the time the event/program occurs.
  • Participation is limited to those members who are in “good standing” with their local 4-H club and county.

Multiple 4-H Memberships

Youth may hold 4-H membership in no more than one county or state at the same time. This statement does not limit multiple county memberships in a given year, but it does require that those memberships be consecutive rather than concurrent. Youth moving from one county to another, for whatever reason, can belong to 4-H in the second county, but it requires transferring their membership from the first county. This also does not limit someone from belonging to 4-H in a county or state that is different from their county or state of residence, neither does it prohibit a 4-Her from participating in educational programs in other states or counties.

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